Vijayawada: Just 20 cement companies are dictating terms to the industry and controlling prices across the country, said the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India on Thursday, demanding the government impose control on the cement manufacturers.
CREDAI general secretary Ch Sudhakar said that cement prices are witnessing a hike every year in the summer when construction activity spikes.
“Raising cement prices in the summer has become the norm for manufacturers. I fear this year, in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack, cement prices may rise again,” he said.
He said that a sizeable amount of cement is imported from Pakistan and the government’s recent decision to hike import tax to 200 per cent may result in higher cement prices.
Mr Sudhakar said that the cement imported from Pakistan is more or less used in north India and Tamil Nadu but its impact will also be felt in AP and Telangana.
“Local cement manufacturers may increase cement price by about Rs 100,” he said.
Mr Sudhakar added that the price of cement was Rs 220 to Rs 250 per bag at the end of January and has now reached Rs 320 to Rs 350.
Out of 502 million tonnes of cement produced in the country, he said 350 tonnes of cement or nearly 70 per cent of the entire country's production comes out from 210 factories owned by 20 companies Mr Sudhakar also recalled that the Competition Commission of India had fined about Rs 6,300 crores for hiking prices by creating artificial demand.
CREDAI Vijayawada chapter president Y.V. Ramana Rao said the state government had appointed a sub-committee comprising ministers at our request to monitor cement prices. Following this, the cement companies decreased the price by Rs 70.
Similarly, Mr Rao said CREDAI is demanding the government to intervene again to decrease the cement price or else the construction sector, which is the second largest employer in the country, will be hurt....